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Author Topic:   What would happen if the ToE were disproven? (A suspense/thriller novel project)
swalker2001
Junior Member (Idle past 4521 days)
Posts: 12
From: Dallas, TX USA
Joined: 09-28-2009


Message 1 of 39 (526654)
09-28-2009 10:55 PM


I am in the middle of writing a novel in which a fossil discovery essentially negates much of the Theory of Evolution. The book is really about what happens throughout the world once the leading theory on how life began switches from evolution is no longer considered viable. It is not a treatise on creation or ID vs. Evolution.

I do, however, want to have the science right. I know for example that the discovery of any single fossil, such as the pre-cambrian rabbit often discussed, is unlikely to completely "disprove" the complete ToE. So I have decided that the "fossil" that is discovered in my book starts a kind of "domino" effect of other investigations and discoveries that eventually cannot be ignored by biologists/anthropologists.

In the book, the ToE IS actually disproven. I don't care if I have to insert a little sci-fi or something completely outrageous to make this happen. This is fiction, so anything is fair game. It needs to be something that even a real-life evolution proponent would agree with, given that the outrageous thing had actually occurred.

I can see a real-world scientist saying, "OK, if THAT happened, then it changes everything. In THAT case, which is IMPOSSIBLE in the real world, then I could buy that evolution is totally wrong. Totally. But THAT is completely fiction." It's ok, because this IS fiction we are talking about.

I just need some help in getting the overall scenario developed. I have written what I can already without knowing how this actually occurs in my fictional world. But now I need to fill in a lot of blanks. I want enough real science in it maintain accuracy right up to the point where I have to veer from reality to make the defeat of ToE believable.

I would love to see everyone's ideas. Remember, we are in the world of reality-based fantasy in this thread so please try to have fun with it!

Edited by swalker2001, : Didn't like the way the sig looked. Added subtitle

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Added the " (A science fiction novel project)" part to the topic title.

Edited by swalker2001, : Book is not really sci-fi...it may have to have a sci-fi device at the beginning in order to allow me to take the path I want...that is what i hope to discover here...


Steve Walker
Engineer, Author, Social Media Specialist

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Coyote, posted 09-28-2009 11:24 PM swalker2001 has replied
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 Message 6 by slevesque, posted 09-29-2009 12:44 AM swalker2001 has replied
 Message 8 by Dr Adequate, posted 09-29-2009 2:22 AM swalker2001 has replied
 Message 28 by AChristianDarkly, posted 09-29-2009 6:45 PM swalker2001 has replied

  
Adminnemooseus
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Message 2 of 39 (526657)
09-28-2009 11:12 PM


I'm going to plug this into the "The Book Nook" forum
Normally that forum is for existing books etc., but it also seems to me to be the best place for a proto-book.

Sounds like an interesting project, IF you can pull it off.

Adminnemooseus


  
Adminnemooseus
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Posts: 3957
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Message 3 of 39 (526659)
09-28-2009 11:12 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 1336 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 4 of 39 (526662)
09-28-2009 11:24 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by swalker2001
09-28-2009 10:55 PM


Interesting idea
You have an interesting idea, but to pull it off you need some alternative to the theory of evolution, or at least some explanation for the oddity.

If the theory of evolution is overturned, you still need to explain all of the existing facts in some manner.

It would be possible to pull the pre-Cambrian rabbit out of the hat, but that by itself is a very unsatisfying way to do things. Why was that odd fossil where it was will be the next major point of interest. It would be good to have a satisfying answer.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.

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subbie
Member (Idle past 485 days)
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 5 of 39 (526663)
09-28-2009 11:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by swalker2001
09-28-2009 10:55 PM


Your problem is going to be that you can't just poof the ToE out of existence. If you look at the recent history of scientific development, you will see that change comes through what is called a paradigm shift. Read Thomas Kuhn for a fuller explanation.

The ToE can in theory be supplanted by a superior theory. But any such supplantation will not negate the established things that the ToE has done and has enabled scientists to do. Think of relativity. It replaced Newtonian mechanics, but Newtonian mechanics still does all the things that physicists were able to do with it before relativity. Or, even further back, think of the Copernican revolution. Before the heliocentric model replaced the geocentric, people used stars and planets for navigation. People are still able to use stars and planets for navigation, and the process is basically unchanged despite our rejection of the theory it was based on.

You cannot simply toss out a few revolutionary discoveries and then proceed as if the ToE never existed, or as if it didn't accurately describe the world and how it works at some level. What you need to do is create a particular problem that the ToE is unable to solve and supplant it with a new theory that includes everything that the ToE covers, but explains the new findings as well.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. -- Thomas Jefferson

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers. -- Barack Obama

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 3870 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 6 of 39 (526666)
09-29-2009 12:44 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by swalker2001
09-28-2009 10:55 PM


For the ToE to go away, you would need to replace it with another, as the two previous posts say. I would even add that society will demand it to be a naturalistic alternative, although it will not be stated explicitly.

Because frankly, if you throw out the ToE but not the fact of evolution, the alternative will be naturalistic. But if you throw out the fact of evolution, with for example a series of fossil discoveries of the sort you are looking for your book, than you are pretty much left with special creation as the only alternative. (Assuming you don't throw out the BBT as well ...)


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Kitsune
Member (Idle past 3530 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 7 of 39 (526677)
09-29-2009 1:57 AM


Something along the lines of Slartibartfast perhaps? The signatures on the fjords are discovered Problem is, it's been done.

Edited by LindaLou, : No reason given.


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Dr Adequate
Member (Idle past 281 days)
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 8 of 39 (526678)
09-29-2009 2:22 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by swalker2001
09-28-2009 10:55 PM


I think what would happen would depend on what exactly was discovered.

The result in general would be a search for a new theory which could explain both the newly discovered facts, and the fact that the ToE has been, up to that point, so thoroughly successful. Every new theory has to explain the success of the old one: for example, the theory that the earth is a large sphere does account very well for the success of the theory that it was flat. Locally, it is flat to a good degree of approximation, and we should expect this to be the case if it was a sphere.

If I was you, I decide what the new theory would be, and then figure out from that what the anomaly would be. Otherwise, your novel will lack the sort of intellectual consistency necessary to good science fiction. Sure, one could overturn the theory that pigs can't fly by seeing lots of flying pigs, but a novel in which pigs suddenly started flying around would not really be science fiction unless there turned out to be a reason for it.

For example (this is probably not what you're looking for, though) suppose that billions of years ago aliens left a device on our planet --- let's call it a Speciator --- which makes new species. It does so on a trial and error basis, trying out new designs and then seeing how they do, and then trying out new (saltational) variations on those that did well. It would have to be mobile to avoid being destroyed or buried over all that time, and it would presumably have some sort of program for keeping itself hidden from observation by sapient beings such as ourselves. One day it starts malfunctioning, and starts generating a whole array of outmoded forms --- it starts churning out dinosaurs and pterodactyls. Following this disturbance to its epicenter, scientists discover the Speciator.

This would be consistent with observation, because up until the point where it started malfunctioning, it would in fact produce results in genetics, morphology, the fossil record, et cetera, much like those that we ascribe to evolution.


This message is a reply to:
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greyseal
Member (Idle past 3092 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 9 of 39 (526698)
09-29-2009 4:49 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Dr Adequate
09-29-2009 2:22 AM


speciator machine
Ooh, I like that as a sci fi idea - what you would have to do is replace "natural selection" with "unnatural selection" and "random mutation" with "directed mutation", with the random naturalness that we've seen up until now as the result.

the question remains though (big reveal! spoiler! don't look!) where did the designer of the random speciation machine come from and how?

Another tack you could take is a stable time-loop - some modern-day animal or object gets found in some impossibly-ancient time, so obviously people from the future have been time-travelling into our remote past.

Unfortunately, that does NOT negate ToE and is essentially a different story.

If you want to negate ToE entirely, you need to find a designer/speciator which has created everything we see from start to finish so that everything else still happened, otherwise you've only created a specific instance where some super-being has intervened (and as we've said, even special creation doesn't negate ToE).

Ooh, OOOH, you know what would be an awesome story?

Thousands(?) of years in the future, mankind has developed into a Type II or III civilisation with complete command of time and space and genetics - so sets out once and for all to prove that ToE is true - and through a roundabout set of stable timeloops and massive genetic manipulation, creates FOR ITSELF the entire genetic history of the planet right up to and including the creation of homo sapiens itself.

A self-booting, self-consistent stable time-loop fixing all of history into a known path from at least 5 billion years ago leaving evidence that looks natural to our ancestors, but perpretated entirely by our descendents.

A real head-trip

Edited by greyseal, : No reason given.

Edited by greyseal, : No reason given.


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swalker2001
Junior Member (Idle past 4521 days)
Posts: 12
From: Dallas, TX USA
Joined: 09-28-2009


Message 10 of 39 (526760)
09-29-2009 9:16 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Coyote
09-28-2009 11:24 PM


Re: Interesting idea
If I used the pre-Cambrian rabbit, it would have to turn out not to be an isolated find...the protagonist and other explorers would have to find many more...which means that there would have to be some reason that none had ever been found before...perhaps nobody knew where to look?

Edited by swalker2001, : misspelling


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swalker2001
Junior Member (Idle past 4521 days)
Posts: 12
From: Dallas, TX USA
Joined: 09-28-2009


Message 11 of 39 (526765)
09-29-2009 9:28 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by slevesque
09-29-2009 12:44 AM


The point of the book is that when the ToE goes away, all that is left is God. So what happens when a society that says it believes in God overall, but doesn't believe in things like The Great Flood, the creation story of Genesis, etc has to re-examine those stories? What about the non-believers who have found scientific explanations for everything What happens when some of those scientific explanations are found to be wrong?

I think there will be many new theories advanced, some totally outrageous, others possibly viable, there will be much wringing of hands, jobs will be lost, new industries created, preachers saying, "I told you so," and lots of things I haven't thought of yet.

So special creation will be the theory of the day after my hypothetical fossil(s) are discovered.

I do not have an agenda to try and promote either theory. I really just want to see what might happen. I am sure there will be a segment of the population that will be more at peace but others that will feel like their whole world has been pulled out from under them. Will chaos ensue? Maybe.


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swalker2001
Junior Member (Idle past 4521 days)
Posts: 12
From: Dallas, TX USA
Joined: 09-28-2009


Message 12 of 39 (526778)
09-29-2009 9:41 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Dr Adequate
09-29-2009 2:22 AM


I have changed the title of the thread to indicate that this isn't so much a sci-fi work as a suspense/thriller...the reason is that even though I may have to use a sci-fi device of some kind to get me where I need to be, the focus of the book is what happens in the world after this discovery is made, not the discovery itself.

And yes, you are right. I must have something that will not "pretend" that all the successes of the ToE don't exist. They must be covered. I don't want to just say "that's just how God decided to do it" but I will if I have to.

As I explained in a previous post, the book seeks to examine how society reacts once the scientific explanation for how we got here is removed...and we are left with only a supernatural one, namely God. I am sure I will have characters coming in with new theories involving aliens, etc. But I am here to solicit help in getting exactly what you mention...a discovery that basically renders ToE useless, but still explains the "apparent" success of it.

As for the Speciator....not a bad idea. I kinda like that in fact. Maybe the next book will be science fiction and that is a good start. If you or somebody else here doesn't write it first, I may come back to that one later. :-)


Steve Walker
Engineer, Author, Social Media Specialist

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swalker2001
Junior Member (Idle past 4521 days)
Posts: 12
From: Dallas, TX USA
Joined: 09-28-2009


Message 13 of 39 (526780)
09-29-2009 9:46 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by subbie
09-28-2009 11:36 PM


Thanks for the thoughtful response. This is why I came here. I don't want to just poof the ToE out of existence. I want to come up with something that does explain the previous theory as you suggest, but since we are talking fiction here, it doesn't have to be something that is likely to ever happen in the real world. Something that stretches reality a little without getting too far afield would suffice. I want to have this discovery made and accepted, although not without a fight, by the scientific community at large and then move on with the rest of the book which examines the people's reactions to this new way of thinking about "how we got here" etc.

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swalker2001
Junior Member (Idle past 4521 days)
Posts: 12
From: Dallas, TX USA
Joined: 09-28-2009


Message 14 of 39 (526783)
09-29-2009 9:55 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Kitsune
09-29-2009 1:57 AM


Ahhh, I remember spending hours on end playing Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on my PCjr.

Something like that might work but it would be a different story from what I am writing. I changed the title of the thread to remove the reference to "science fiction" because I don't want to go too far down that road.

BTW, I still play Hitchhiker's Guide...but now I play it on my Blackberry.


Steve Walker
Engineer, Author, Social Media Specialist

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greyseal
Member (Idle past 3092 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 15 of 39 (526786)
09-29-2009 9:56 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by swalker2001
09-29-2009 9:46 AM


i think you don't get the problem...
even if you found a rabbit in pre-cambrian times, that doesn't still prove that evolution never happened.

You'd have to either

a) completely negate it (the speciation machine)

b) completely replace it (evolution never happened, it was all "artificial")

or

c) some amalgam (microevolution is OKAY, but all the big changes were deliberate by FACTOR X)

otherwise, you get "evolution AND X happened". which is fine, if you want to change the premise.


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